Monday, May 2, 2011

The Tiger's Wife

by Tea Obreht

After reading this book, I've realized I tend to like books that are a bit quirky, yet well written. The Tiger's Wife fits that bill perfectly. Tea Obreht is very skilled in crafting sentences and language usage, which seems to be becoming a lost art. At times I think she gets a bit carried away with wording and description taking readers down some unnecessarily long paths, but for the most part enjoyable.

This is the story of a young woman, Natalia coming to terms with the death of her beloved grandfather through some lessons and fables he shared with her as she grew up in his household. One of the tales is of the tiger's wife, a deaf-mute married to an abusive butcher in a small town. The other is the tale of the deathless man. These inner-stories were fresh and creative and were cleverly interwoven into Natalia's present-day life. I found it a bit perplexing though that Obreht delved into the minute details of so many characters of these fables but seemed to neglect giving such thorough accounts of those in the present. Another puzzling aspect of this book was the lack of passion or opinion given to some of the more tragic events in the story, for example the horrid abuse perpetrated on the tiger's wife or the ravaging of towns during the war.  I think this indifferent approach makes it hard for readers to connect with the story.

Overall, I liked the book and in particular the writing. 

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